Saying she lacks the energy to run again after nearly six "challenging" years in office, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that she's stepping down. Her resignation as Labor Party leader will take effect by Feb. 7, the BBC reports. Ardern said she had reflected over the summer on whether to seek reelection. "I had hoped that I would find what I needed to carry on over that period but, unfortunately, I haven't," she said, "and I would be doing a disservice to New Zealand to continue." Once her party chooses a new leader, her successor as prime minister will be sworn in, Ardern said. New Zealand's general election is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Labor won reelection two years ago in a landslide but has trailed in recent polls, per the AP. At 37, Ardern was the world's youngest female head of government when she was elected prime minister in 2017. She received international praise for her government's response to the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques in 2019, per Axios, as well as her early handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Ardern called being prime minister the "greatest honor of my life" while acknowledging its challenges. The difficulty isn't the reason for her resignation, she said. "I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice," Ardern said. "It is that simple." (Read more Jacinda Ardern stories.)